Modern Day 70's Time Capsules
I've been on a 70's movie kick lately. But not just any 70's movies, but recent movies that take place in the 70's! Since I am a big fan of a lot of the 70's design in furniture, appliances and misc. pop culture, I view the 70's as a fun time to be alive. So, needless to say, I enjoy it when a movie can capture a period like the 70's in a time capsule. Below I've listed my top 7, most recent favorites. All are under $20 and some are even as low as $5! Have a nice day!
Spirit of '76. 1990
This has been one of my favorite 70's era movies, since I saw it late one night on cable TV. The story revolves around a trio of space travelers from the future set their time machine to go back to 1776 in order to retrieve a copy of The Constitution, to solve the future's problems. But, due to a glitch, they travel back in time to 1976, during our bicentennial. A camp classic, only for those who have a high tolerance for cheesy, retro fun. The cast includes: DEVO, David Cassidy, Leif Garret, Moon Unit Zappa (I LOVE her... and her hottie brother Ahmet...ROWR!) and Julie Brown. If you're feeling blue and/or nostalgic, then this is just what the doctor ordered!
Detroit Rock City. 1999
I LOVE this movie. From the opening credits to the choice in casting, this movie was a total blast from the past for me. The story revolves around a group of friends trying to get to a KISS concert in Detroit. You don't have to be a KISS fan, but it helps. The movie has a great soundtrack, plenty of laughs and lots-o-70's pop culture. There's even a cameo by singer/actor/artist Nick Scotti, who has his own nerve-racking reality show on the Style Channel, called New York Nick. I may be one of the only people who bought his 1993 self-titled album, but what can I say, he has a great singing voice. He also has an awesome face and bod (which he knows all too well). As for considering himself a "painter," I dunno about that...
The Ice Storm. 1997
Another stellar movie, with a great cast. This movie has so many good people in it, and the performances are great: Sigourney Weaver, Elijah Wood, Christina Ricci, Tobey Maguire & Joan Allen. The story revolves around 2 dysfunctional Connecticut families in1973. The film was directed by Ang Lee, who also directed two other film favorites of mine: Eat Drink Man Woman and The Wedding Banquet.
Scotland, Pa. 2001
I recently fell in love with this movie when I saw it on the Independent Film Channel. I can't say that I am a huge Shakespeare fan, but I do like it when his timeless stories/plots are turned into good films. I enjoyed the 1990's version of Hamlet, starring Mel Gibson and Glenn Close (even though I am not fan of Mel Gibson the person) and even 1996's Romeo & Juliet, starring Leonardo DiCaprio & Claire Danes. Well, Scotland, Pa. is a 70's twist on Macbeth starring James LeGros, Christopher Walken, Kevin Corrigan and Andy Dick. The majority of the film takes place around a fast food empire called McBeths (think McDonald's). The original proprietor's name is Duncan (think Duncan Donuts). If you're familiar with the basic premise, you'll totally get a kick out of how the director incorporated the premise to fit the 70's world of fast food. Lots of fun, and Walken gives another great performance.
Dazed and Confused. 1993
I think of it as the Fast Times at Ridgemont High of the 90's, since it had SO many "before they were stars" in it: Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Rory Cochrane, Matthew McConaughey, just to name a few. The story takes place on the last day of school in 1976. This is the real 70's stuff, not the brightly colored pop culture eyecandy so many people associate with the 70's. Nobody here is tryin' to look pretty. Fun movie!
Now and Then. 1995
I just saw this film on the STARZ! WAM! channel and had forgotten how much I enjoyed the camaraderie of the 4 main girls, played by Thora Birch, Gaby Hoffman, Christina Ricci and Ashleigh Aston Moore. Think of it as a girl's version of Stand By Me, sans the dead body... well, sorta. I really enjoyed the film up until the ending scenes of glorious childbirth, followed by deep thoughts by the adult version of the girls (played by Melanie Griffith, Demi Moore, Rosie O'Donnell and Rita Wilson), who come together briefly at the beginning and the end of the film to help their friend Chrissy through childbirth. I'd have been more content with the film had it left the "big" stars out of the loop and stuck to their much more interesting youthful counterparts. Still, the film is big on fun, humor, adventures and a great soundtrack. Besides, three of my favorite actors/actresses have cameos: Janeane Garofalo, Brendan Fraser and Bonnie Hunt. Fun popcorn movie!
Good Fences. 2003
And last, but not least, I must give an honorable mention to the made-for-Showtime movie Good Fences. Why an "honorable mention" you may ask. Well, because it was much more of a downer than I had expected. Not a bad movie, just not the comedy it was disguised as. The movie stars one of my favorite people, Whoopi Goldberg. Danny Glover plays her not-so-stable husband. The story revolves around an upwardly mobile black family who move into the posh enclave of Greenwich, Connecticut. The film's cover art and tagline make the film appear to be much more lighthearted than it actually is. In actuality, the film is much more of a drama, dealing with black vs. white issues, racial inequality, losing your sense of self, etc. Still, I enjoyed the film on a lot of other levels. I thought the 70's sets/props were dead on, as well as Whoopi's portrayal of a down-to-earth woman just trying to stay grounded in a predominantly white community. There are some laughs and twists along the way to keep the viewer's attention.